Pre-game Session 3 – The Character
What’s a solo RPG game without a character to play? To stick with the idea of everything being random I decided to throw a series of oracle cards that might give me an idea of the character I would play.
I drew five cards with the categories of Body, Mind, Dreams, Inner Character, Outer Character. Here is what I got.
Body – 6 of Pentacles. This card is a tough one as its about generosity, sharing prosperity. If Body is equal to health then you have someone in excellent health. The first thing in my mind was a man, perhaps middle-aged, who is in excellent shape, successful and helping others.
Mind – King of Swords. Nice. A perfect card for this position and one that meshes well with the first card. I immediately thought of a general or a retired veteran with a keen strategic mind. This character should have a very high intelligence with a no-nonsense attitude.
Dreams – 3 of Pentacles. He wants to be known for creating something or building something. I still get a very martial feel. Perhaps he is done with the military life and has stepped out of that role so he can move out into the world and help people? Perhaps he wants to build a business using those skills? Perhaps becoming a consultant or starting a school for military training or tactics?
Inner Character – 6 of Cups. Inside he is a very romantic person. He enjoys beauty and children. He himself can be very childlike. He appreciates and fosters innocence though he himself has lost it.
Outer Character – 9 of Swords. Woah, curveball. Intense anxiety, nightmares. His outer character is very rattled right now and perhaps he does not look as well put together to the public eye. Inside he’s doing alright but he’s let the outside go. Did something happen in his recent past to cause him to fall into anxiety? To quit his job in the military?
With these starting points I think I have a beginning to work from to build a nice character.
I’m seeing a retired Field Marshall, a general or something similar. Someone who has commanded others and had a lot of military experience. He is decorated and well-liked. He has numerous contacts and a decent social network. He frequents museums, gardens and enjoys the beauty of the world. For a long time he worked to protect that beauty feeling that his superior mind and physical strength were best applied with his rank. I’m not sure yet what kind of military. We’ll get there.
Something happened which caused him to intentionally announce his retirement from a life-long military career and to strike out into the world. Whatever it was it rattled him and he frequently has nightmares and carries a “haunted” look about him. He’s decided to set out into the world and away from the rank and file of the military which, based on his cards, were not allowing him to show his full potential.
I want more detail about the 9 of Swords. What caused the 9 of Swords in the character’s life?
8 of Wands, The Priestess and the Wheel of Fortune. 8 of Wands is usually travel, the Priestess could be a highly placed and powerful mystical woman and the Wheel of Fortune indicates success. Perhaps the Wheel of Fortune turned and took this mystical woman far away from him as she pursued some success somewhere? Perhaps she was forced to move on due to her priestess ways? Something to think about or to see if it comes out later through gameplay.
Next, I pull three more cards which help us to understand what he is doing here and what, exactly, has brought him to the island of Ballushium.
The 4 of Cups, The Magician, and the Queen of Pentacles. — 4 of cups is an emotional disturbance. In this situation, I see the Magician and the Queen of Pentacles as being people. So, a powerful mage and a strong woman with either financial stability or very grounded. She could be a landowner, a business owner or both. With the 4 of cups it would indicate is something not good between the mage and the Queen of Pentacles. What was it though? Was it deception, betrayal, violence? And where does our character fit into this? She is either a daughter, a friend, or a romantic interest of the character and he has tracked the mage to Ballushium. Perhaps…
A few more cards to sort this all out! With a few more pulls I get cards for deception, hard work, someone being incredibly sneaky and cunning. Nothing but troubles. What I come up with is this. The Queen of Pentacles fell prey to the Mage who got close to her through her work. She let him get close, he then ruined her reputation and robbed her. I don’t know if she is alive or dead just yet. Perhaps the Mage needed her money to get the funding for passage to Ballushium because he knows something about the ruins? Perhaps the Queen of P. knew something? Or had something in her possession?
Next, I go digging for a bit more structure in the plot.
I ask if the mage killed the Queen of Pentacles and if not what did he do to her? From the resulting cards I piece together the following…
The mage romanced the Queen of Pentacles who had her own business as a consultant to merchant houses and to caravan travel. She would be hired by merchant houses to plan the logistics on caravan travel. The Queen of Pentacles also appears to have had a rather fiery, warrior daughter from a previous relationship. When the mage deceived the Queen, taking her financial wealth and ruining her reputation as he did so, he fled out of the city quickly. He was followed quickly by the enraged daughter whose sole intention was to get back her mother’s property and kill the mage, not necessarily in that order.
For reasons unknown, the mage flees to Ballushium and the daughter follows after him. Enter our character, the retired military man, who is visiting his old friend the Queen of Pentacles. He finds a woman who is on the edge of bankruptcy and distraught with a missing daughter. The Queen asks him to track down her daughter and bring her back to safety as she fears that should her daughter find the mage, the mage could easily kill her.
And with that… the story begins!
Our character comes ashore at Ballushium and begins to track down the daughter. His goal is to find her, keep her safe and hopefully bring her back to her mother. If he can find the mage in the process he might just try to take him down as well.
(Pssst – but you can click here to go to a small additional pre-game post!)